Whether we are talking about commitment ceremonies, religious ceremonies, civil unions, or a legal marriage ceremony, there are two universal threads woven into today’s same-sex weddings. First, same-sex couples may lean on relevant rituals to guide their ceremonies and receptions, but they often turn wedding traditions inside out to create personally meaningful celebrations for themselves. And second, because marriage is not available to all gay and lesbian couples (and has only recently become available to some), same-sex weddings are considered something special; the LGBTQ community does not take for granted the right to marry. These two co-existing threads mean that gay weddings can be powerful and transformative for the guests in attendance, bringing a new understanding and appreciation of same-sex relationships.
The dynamism of emerging trends in same-sex weddings has had ripple effects for all involved, and a photographer needs to be aware of how prospective clients want to approach their weddings in order to be well prepared. Further, photographers should be mindful of how the involvement and emotions of the wedding party, family, and guests can be an integral part of the wedding story and provide a meaningful dimension to the wedding album.
In sum, we advise photographers to approach a planning session with an open mind and follow the couple’s lead, but also to be prepared to offer guidance.
Tips for Working With Same-Sex Couples
#1: Plan ahead to consider how details like attire, color scheme, or flower combinations for two brides or two grooms might impact the photographs. Choices may range from the traditional to the unique or from everything in pairs to complementary options.
#2: Be prepared to photograph all kinds of unions — from formal, traditional religious weddings to casual elopements at City Hall. Remember that some couples may have more than one ceremony.
#3: Don’t assume that parents of the couple are certain of their role in the wedding or that they will be there. For some, this can be a delicate topic.
Excerpted from Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography